SDG Pioneers 2024

Celebrating business leaders who are advancing the Sustainable Development Goals through a principles-based approach

Each year the UN Global Compact celebrates a class of SDG Pioneers — business leaders working at any level in a company — who are using business as a force for good to advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through their own company or by mobilising other businesses, they are helping to reach one or more of the SDGs while also contributing to business success. The SDG Pioneers play an important role in advocating for the Global Goals and demonstrating the private sector’s role in advancing them.

Meet the UN Global Compact Network UK 2024 SDG Pioneers!

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Rachel Martin is a pioneering force in the realm of sustainability, driving impactful change as the Senior Global Director of Sustainability at Elsevier. Rachel has played a played a pivotal role in spearheading initiatives that aim to integrate sustainability and the SDGs, with a focus on climate action, both within her own organization and across the broader publishing sector.

Within Elsevier, Rachel overseas Elsevier’s Climate Action program that seeks to integrate and prioritize sustainability, whilst fostering a sustainability mindset. Since 2017, Elsevier has achieved a 74% reduction in direct emissions and over a 50% reduction in business air travel. Additionally, Rachel’s strategic vision have led to insightful reports such as “The Power of Data to Advance the SDGs”  and a proof of concept for Gen AI tools to provide scientific summaries for policy makers.

Rachel's expertise extends beyond the confines of her corporate role, as she actively engages with industry leaders, and stakeholders to advocate for sustainable practices on a broader scale. She was part of the team that launched the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact and the SDG Book Club that has included supporting local chapters in Africa, Portugal, Brazil, Germany and in the Netherlands. Rachel is also the co-founder of the Publishing 2030 Accelerator designed to test early-stage ideas around climate action. In a short 18 months, Rachel and her team delivered a methodology to assess the carbon impact of print books, a carbon label prototype and a whitepaper that examined the tradeoffs between profitability and sustainability.

Rachel represents Elsevier on several industry sustainability committees and is currently chair of the STM Social Responsibility Committee and UK Book Industry Communications (BIC) Green Supply Chain committee. In these roles, the committees have delivered innovative industry resources such as the SDG roadmap that provides academic publishers with practical resources and inspirational case studies to get started on their sustainability journey.

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Amanda is at the forefront of the sustainability movement, helping organisations to successfully transition to net zero in a way that respects both people and planet. An experienced leader with a background in strategic consultancy and reputation management, she is leading Forster Communications through an exciting period of impact-led growth.

Amanda works directly with senior leaders, helping them to address complex communications challenges and overcome barriers to change. She has created and supported ground-breaking initiatives including the Seeing is Believing programme for Standard Chartered; Action on Fistula for Astellas Pharma Europe; TRANSFORM for Unilever, UK FCDO and EY; Food Glorious Food for the National Trust and National Numeracy Day for KMPG UK.

As well as holding a range of specialist and ethical advisory roles, Amanda is a CEO ambassador for the B Corporation network, published ‘Bold Thinking Brave Action’ in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and was on the UKSSD Steering Group, accelerating UK action around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Previous Winners

SDG Pioneer Winner 2023 - Solitaire

Representing an SME:
Solitaire Townsend, Co-founder & Chief Solutionist at Futerra

Solitaire is an author, renowned sustainability expert and optimist. As Co-founder & Chief Solutionist at Futerra (edie's 2023 Consultancy of the Year), she advises the world's most influential organisations to activate the Sustainable Development Goals. Solitaire was named a Sustainability Leader of 2023 by Ad Week and Positive News calls her one of the leading voices changing the climate narrative. Her popular TED talk, Forbes column, and most recent book – The Solutionists: How Businesses Can Fix the Future – are available online.

SDG Pioneer Winner - Uzma

Representing a Large Company:
Uzma Hamid-Dizier, Director of Responsible Business and Inclusion at Slaughter and May

Uzma leads on the firm’s Responsible Business Committee and the implementation of the responsible business strategy. She works closely with the senior leadership to integrate responsible business into the firm’s everyday business culture and strategy. Uzma is specialised in the delivery of business transformation and change programmes to create more open, inclusive, and engaged workplaces that positively contribute to the societies in which they operate. She is a globally experienced diversity and inclusion and responsible business professional, with over 20 years of expertise in the corporate sector, previously holding roles at KPMG, HSBC, and the United Nations. Uzma also spearheaded a collaboration with seven other founding firms to launch Legal CORE and co-chairs the leadership-led, cross-firm collective which is aimed at tackling the underrepresentation of ethnic minority groups in the UK legal sector.

2022 SDG Pioneers Winner David Orr

David Orr
UN Global Compact Network UK SDG Pioneer
2022 Global SDG Pioneer for Climate Mitigation
Product Lead – Moata Net Zero
Mott MacDonald

Read about David’s experience as an SDG Pioneer here >>>

2020 UK SDG Pioneer - Fran Baker

Fran Baker
UN Global Compact Network UK SDG Pioneer
Director of Sustainability & Social Impact


Regan Leahy
2019 Global Compact Network UK SDG Pioneer
(then) Hogan Lovells

For further information, please contact Lea Burkart, Governance & SDGs Programme.